Bettye is Baffled Again (Another One for the 'I Just Don't Get It' Category)

No, I'm not confused about the people in the pictures from my recent vacation, who are my mom with her three surviving kids, me with my niece, who wanted to ride wtih me (I wonder why?), me and the birthday boy, and the nieces and nephew who attended. Apologies if you're seeing this twice; I fouled up something earlier and aren't sure if I got rid of it.
Now, on to what has me befuddled (I always liked that word.) Can anyone explain to me why people start standing in line at the airline gate so far ahead of boarding time? When I flew out to Colorado very early Friday morning, people were standing on line by 6:20AM, before the plane even arrived at the gate. The disembarking passengers had to get off, the flight attendants had to pick up a little plus do a passenger count, and the passengers continuing on were given the opportunity to switch seats before the new set of passengers could get on. I could tell we would be late taking off, but still people stood.

On my return trip Monday, people started lining up forty minutes before our scheduled departure (at least this time the plane was parked at the gate). Southwest Airlines divides passengers into groups A, B, and C, depending on when one's ticket was purchased, plus those who qualify to pre-board (the idea is that they will be the first to get on and the last to de-plane upon landing because it takes them a little longer to get it together, but I have never seen any of them wait until the plane empties before getting off themselves – instead they hold everybody up with their walkers and wheelchairs and their three kids under age 4).

Anyway, I waited until the line for group B had reached where I was sitting before getting up. I sailed past people in Group C who'd been standing on line for half an hour.

I don't understand what the mad rush is to get on the airplane, with its stuffy air and narrow seats. On the other hand, I do understand the rush to get off, but again, I can't figure why even the people in the back get up and grab their stuff the second the Fasten Seat Belt sign goes off. Don't they realize that there are dozens of people in front of them?

If anyone can shed any light on this, I'd love to hear it. I'm truly baffled. Do you do this? Why, for heaven's sake?


Gwyneth Bolton said...

LOL. Yes, Bettye this is always funny to watch. Of course I watch from my seat.I think it's because people are anxious about traveling and they feel like they have to do something with the nervous energy.


Shelia said...

I only stand up when they call out my section. Otherwise, I sit and watch everybody else stand for longer than they have to. I guess they figure if they are in line, they can get on the plane that much faster. I don't know.

bettye griffin said...

Thanks, Gwyneth and Shelia!

Patricia W. said...

It's called overhead storage space. If you're lucky enough to be in the A group, you get first pick. But even if you're in group C, you want to be at the front of the group.

Then, there's that whole I-hope-no-one-else-is-in-my-row thing so that one can pick the window, center, or aisle. Or, if unlucky enough to have another person in their row, hope that person won't go through the hassle of making them move.

Can you tell I used to fly in and out of NY a lot?

bettye griffin said...

Ah, maybe that has something to do with it. I rarely seek to use the overhead bins, carrying only my purse and the carry-on bag that holds my laptop and other essentials.

On the way out I could tell that there would be plenty of space on the plane, so I deliberately went to the back and had a row to myself. The return flight was much more crowded, so I took the first aisle seat with no one in the center I could find, which was in Row 9. Still not bad!

Thanks for sharing your insight, Pat!

Donna said...

The only good thing about traveling with my son is priority boarding. With the hassles with security and the long wait (including weather delays) making for a cranky boy (and mom and dad), being able to get in and settle in the seat without having deal with the rest of the rush is a blessing.

As for those standing up, I see the same thing on the METRA and the bus every day. It's a "I gotta be first" mentality that gets you nothing but more irritation.

bettye griffin said...

Thanks, Donna!